Member of long-term care workforce shaking hands during recruiting job interview.

The American Hospital Association’s American Organization for Nursing Leadership affiliate this week released the first section in a three-part compendium that will focus on best practices to manage nursing workforce complexities. The first section from the committee focuses on recruiting and retaining nurses, and future sections will examine academic-practice partnerships, culture, and compensation and benefits. 

The AONL Workforce Committee solicited feedback from nurse leaders in all healthcare settings to share their best practices and local scenarios with particular attention to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging practices.

Healthcare staffing issues began even before the COVID-19 pandemic, as baby boomer nurses started to retire. That cohort represented about a third (1.2 million nurses) of the total nursing workforce, according to the compendium. 

The AONL Workforce Committee was convened in response to answers received in the 2022 AONL Longitudinal Nursing Leadership Insight Study released last month. The study found that about one-third of nurse leaders (chief nursing officers, directors and managers) identified emotional health as a major challenge. One in four nurse managers indicated they are not at all or not emotionally healthy.

The data from the October publication indicates that after emotional health and well-being, the next concerns of nurse leaders are staff retention and the cost of travel nursing. There were 2,336 respondents; 73% were either vice presidents, chief nursing officers or chief nursing executives, directors or managers. Three percent of the respondents came from long-term acute care or post-acute care facilities.

Recruiting and retaining nurses can be a daunting task. It requires collaboration between a nurse leader and a talent acquisition professional. 

As an initial step in the recruiting and retention process, “Apply for a position at your own organization to evaluate processes, barriers and opportunities,” the AONL Workforce Committee suggested.

When offering a position to a prospective candidate, do so within 24 to 48 hours or less and “escalate all declinations to talent acquisition to evaluate and track rationale,” the committee added.

Additionally, they said, create a relationship between the applicant and the nurse manager prior to onboarding, facilitated by the talent acquisition professional.